‘Orange Street News’ Child Journalist Hilde Lysiak Fires Back At Critics: ‘Is That Cute Enough For You?’

Orange Street News might have a small reach, but its editor-in-chief Hilde Lysiak adds something truly outstanding to the news world all the same: The junior reporter is only 9 years old.

As the Orange Street News slowly spread through her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, Hilde attracted largely positive reviews from locals for her work. That was until last weekend, when Lysiak found herself on the scene of a local homicide where a man had beaten his wife to death with a hammer. She described the scene in an editorial for The Guardian.

“I acted on a tip from a good source that I was able to get through some of my other reporting. After confirming with the police department, I then went straight to the scene and spoke to neighbors and got more information. I worked very hard. Because of my work I was able to keep the people of Selinsgrove informed about this very important event hours before my competition even got to the scene. In fact, some other news sites run by adults were reporting the wrong information or no information at all while the Orange Street News was at the scene doing the hard work to report the facts to the people.”

Little information was making it to local news sources, which caused Hilde’s article to become the center of local curiosity about the case.

Critics said that Lysiak’s report was outside of the bounds of common decency, both because of the subject matter and because of her age. Former local mayor Sean Christie called it “sensationalist trash.”

Hilde, however, was undeterred. Lysiak has continued to post articles this week as the Orange Street News‘ readership has grown exponentially. She even posted a video that confronted these criticisms head-on.

Hilde also complained that part of the reason Orange Street News had managed to capture so much attention in the first place was because local news outlets failed to report on the story. Lysiak stated that this was because police had advised them not to, something she said would never influence her reporting.

“My parents and I have also been warned that covering this story meant my reporting was no longer ‘cute’… I never began my newspaper so that people would think I was cute. I started the Orange Street News to give people the information they need to know. I want to be taken seriously… Grownups usually treat kids like they cannot do anything great. If adults don’t think we can do something, then it is hard for us to believe that we can.”

Perhaps wanting to avoid a raw deal with future subscribers — Selinsgrove has a population of just under 6,000 — Hilde closed her Guardian editorial with an offer.

“And for those of you who think I need to mind my place, I’ll make you a deal. You get off your computer and do something to stop all the crime going on in my town and I’ll stop reporting on it.

“Until then, I’m going to keep doing my job.”

You can visit Hilde Lysiak’s Orange Street News site to see more of the junior reporter’s work.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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